Mexico to be represented in Rose Parade – First time in 40 years

This artists depiction of Mexicos entry into the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade coincides with the 200th birthday of the Republic of Mexico and the 100th anniversary of the Revolution. This is Mexico's first entry in more than 40 years.In honor of the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence and 100 years since the country’s revolution, the Mexican government is sponsoring its first Rose Parade float in over 40 years.

“With this float we’re going to tell 40 million people watching on TV that it’s Mexico’s birthday,” said Juan Marcos Gutierrez-Gonzalez, the Mexican consul general in Los Angeles. “There’s no better way to do it.”

In a presentation Tuesday announcing next year’s year-long festivities for the county’s historic milestones, officials from the Mexican consulate unveiled the frame of the float. It depicts moments and symbols of the independence and revolution. Across the middle, six-foot letters spell out “M xico 2010.”

At the head of the float stands a replica of a famous statue (El Angel de la Independencia) in downtown Mexico City. It will be flanked by the portraits of Miguel Hidalgo, a hero of the 1810 independence, and Francisco Madera, a father of the 1910 revolution.

To the float’s rear, an Aztec pyramid and calendar mark the country’s origins.

“I’m so thankful to have something so beautiful for Mexico,” said Raul Rodriguez, who designed the float with the Mexican consulate’s input.

Rodriguez, who attended Santa Fe Springs High School, has crafted more than 500 floats over 35 years. He said he felt proud to honor his family’s heritage.

The float was built at Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale with nearly $250,000 in private donations, officials said. During the parade, 36 men and women dressed in traditional garb will dance around the float.

At the end of the month, local volunteers, including Mexican community leaders and Girl Scouts, will help put hundreds of thousands of roses on the 55-foot long float.

Several floats in recent parades have depicted Mexican themes, but an official float hasn’t run in the parade since 1968. The Mexican government sponsored one that year to commemorate Mexico City’s Summer Olympics.

This year, Gutierrez-Gonzalez said the float is a gift for the 7.8 million first-generation and native-born Mexicans living the in the five-county region of Southern California.

“I think Mexico is really going to make an impact,” Rodriguez said. “I can’t wait for New Year’s Day.”